NBC Is Not a Real Network, Take 3 - Macleans.ca

NBC Is Not a Real Network, Take 3


Please read Linda Holmes’s piece on NBC’s decision to cancel Southland after ordering, and then not airing, a second season. The main point of the decision is that NBC has dropped the pretense that The Jay Leno Show will not interfere with their commitment to drama. NBC ordered what was basically a 10 o’clock drama, assured everyone that this would be fine to air at 9 o’clock, and then decided that, no, it’s really not a 9 o’clock show after all. In doing so they probably killed their relationship with John Wells and, perhaps more importantly, gave themselves a reputation as a network that drama producers can’ t depend upon to air their episodes at all. And what with the decision to sink lots of money into episodes and then not air them, you have to wonder whether even the low production costs of Jay Leno can make up for all the money NBC is wasting on that.

In part this may just prove that NBC’s drama development hasn’t yet caught up with their last-minute decision to abandon the 10 o’clock hour. I’d be reluctant to say that their Leno experiment can’t work, because Fox does just fine not broadcasting anything after 10 o’clock. But they have stayed away from the shows like ER and NYPD Blue that wouldn’t work as 9 o’clock shows. As Holmes points out, NBC’s abandonment of drama looks even worse because their sister network USA is doing extremely well with scripted dramas — and not ambitious, expensive dramas like Kings, just good solid light entertainments. Shows like Southland — not great works of television art, but solid mainstream dramas with a dark tone — were perfect for 10 o’clock; they really do have trouble working earlier, so NBC isn’t necessarily wrong to think it wouldn’t be a 9 o’clocker; the network was just wrong to come to this realization in the most expensive, humiliating and angry-making way possible.

NBC could theoretically come up with 9 o’clock dramas that would work for them. On the other hand, since even their time-slot-appropriate dramas either stink now (Heroes) or don’t get very good ratings in spite of being perfect for that time slot (Chuck), it may not be that their drama development needs to adjust to the new reality. It might just be that they’re just a very poorly-run network.

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NBC Is Not a Real Network, Take 3

  1. NBC, is gonna go down, the Leno show is horrible, I don't even pass by NBC anymore!!!!

  2. I want my Southland back on tv!! Just not anywhere near NBC but with a company that knows what to do with it.

  3. Southland It's the best drama I've seen in a long time. It's not just the withdrawal of antenna. Why NBC?

  4. Southland was my favorite show :(

  5. I love Southland and NBC is stupid and idiotic for canceling it. I only watched that channel for Southland and I will never watch it again now because of their decision to cancel Southland. Some network better pick this amazing show up :)

  6. I cannot believe NBC's canceling Southland (although maybe I should given its drastic decline in the past few years). Southland is the first NBC show in ages I've both enjoyed and respected. It's dark and gritty, yes, but most people I know happen to like that and more importantly, Southland did it WELL. It's a unique, well-written, realistic show that deserves to be shown somewhere; I will definitely follow whatever network shows it. Now, the only thing I watch on NBC is Law & Order, thanks Jay Leno.

  7. This show has great potential, with a quality cast portraying intriguing characters. I will miss getting to know them better.

    Continuing to air something like 'Cougar Town' instead of good ensemble drama pretty much says it all about what NBC thinks of viewer intelligence.

    Now there are only three shows I watch on broadcast TV….and none of them are NBC.

    C'mon, TNT, step up!

  8. I'll take Southland any day over Leno. It's a beautifully-imagined, smart drama that took their veiwership inside people's lives without playing to any stereotypes I could see. I really loved and appreciated this show and I feel that NBC would rather ignore intelligence in favor of quick cash. A payout over the long run just isn't worth it to them, it seems.

  9. I'd boycott NBC if there was anything left on that network I'd care to watch. Southland is a beautifully written, intelligently acted, effectively filmed drama that is as intimate and relevant as it is "gritty" and "dark" (though personally I'd call it realistic and intense). I'll follow the show wherever it goes – hopefully to another network with enough brains to treat it with the respect such quality deserves.

  10. Saving money now just to hemorrhage viewers seems like a stupid way to run a network. I think Southland can find a new and better home; I don’t think NBC will find any new viewers.

  11. This was the best show, I cant believe they cancelled it!

  12. My fav show is gone :(

  13. I contacted CTV and they say there is no news yet on SouthLAnd. I hope others are also letting them know we care about this great show. A moribund US network shouldn't get to decide the fate of a smart, entertaining show.